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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: ASP.NET for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Bill Hatfield
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
ASP.NET for Classic ASPers

I have written thousands of Classic ASP pages dating back to version 2 and earlier, all done using Visual InterDev and ADO. When .NET rolled out, I immediately installed Visual Studio.NET and was dumbfounded. I got lost in the "code behind" approach of .NET and thoroughly confused about what parts of my Classic ASP pages were and were not compatible. I couldn't even figure out what to do with all the "include files" I had been using for years. I once read that you should create a user control and put them in that, but how do you do it? After struggling mightily for a few weeks, I decided to put it all aside and go back to what I understood. Then I read this book, just on a whim. ASP.NET was demonstrated without Visual Studio.NET in the way. Suddenly, I saw Classic ASP in front of me with very minor modifications. Hey, I understand this! For the first time, the light went on. Seeing object-oriented programming in a way that was familiar to me suddenly made the light go on for a great many things. I finally got it. Now I can confidently create classes, instantiate objects, and all the other object-oriented tasks that once intimidated me. After a few more weeks with this, I may even take another look at Visual Studio.NET! If you are struggling in the same way I was, this is the book to get. Besides, it's cheap. What's to lose?

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Extreme Programming Installed
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ron Jeffries, Ann Anderson, Chet Hendrickson, Ronald E. Jeffries
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Wonderful, but not a practical tutorial

I just love this book. However, I don't give it a 5 because it's a bit too verbose. I recommend it for people who want to get excited about XP - or to get someone else excited, which has worked for me. For that - making you *want* to use the methodology - it's great. But it is less than perfect to put you on track to actually do it.
I've been told (second-hand, haven't actually read them) that if you want a practical guide you should get either the green book (for managers) or the orange book (for developers). (Check ...(this website) list of related books on this page to find them)

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Enterprise J2ME: Developing Mobile Java Applications
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Michael Juntao Yuan
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Emphasis of J2ME is shifting to the server

The substance of this book bodes well for the future of J2ME. As you may known, there have been several books on J2ME published in the last year. Like "Java Development on PDAs" by Wilding-McBride. For the most part, these have been aimed at someone completely new to J2ME development. They have tended to focus on the client side, because this is more tangible and easier to explain.
Here Yuan shifts the focus to the server side. He does have screen shots of some client UIs and related code. But the bulk of the discussion moves to server related issues, like how can you sync to a database, or how to send SMS messages in a network. You can consider the book to be focused on connectivity. Not at the lowest level of network connections, but at a higher conceptual level of hooking to existing applications.
In part, this is because UI capabilities are much more limited compared to those on a full Java desktop or even a laptop. But it is mostly because the bigger value is in building logic on the server.
Sound familiar? Mainstream java traced this route from applet development in 1996 to, a few years later, J2EE/XML on the server, when people realised that is where java is best suited. In about half the time, J2ME is walking down the same path. Yuan does not suggest this, but the impression I got from the book is that in a few more years, if J2ME is running on a server that is not as resource constained as its clients, then it may be replaced by J2EE. It seems that if server side J2ME is to prosper, it may be only on very physically limited servers.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Thinking in Java (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Bruce Eckel
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Great on OO but lacking in API

The book is a GREAT introduction to OO. It doesn't just say - this is what you are allowed to write (syntax), and this is what will happen if you write it (semantics). No, Bruce Eckel also explains WHY the features are included in Java, how to use them in ways, that give a good desing. So - the book really explains how to make good oo design, using the features of the Java Language.
On the DOWNSIDE, the chapters covering central parts of the Java API are not good at all. That is the chapters on Collections, I/O, Threads and Swing. Bruce doesn't give an overall view of the API's, and when diagrams are included (almost never), they are extremely chaotic. He does not succed in explaining the overall design of those API's, which makes it really hard to figure out how the pieces fit together. And the problem is not that the APIs are complex - in fact - when you see the overall picture, the APIs are really easy to grasp, problem is, you have to put this picture together yourself - the book doesn't help in that matter.